“There’s letters sealed; and my two schoolfellows,
Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged,
They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work,
For ’tis the sport to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petard; and ’t shall go hard
But I will delve one yard below their mines
And blow them at the moon. O, ’tis most sweet
When in one line two crafts directly meet.”
THE above quotation from one of William Shakespeare’s works, Hamlet, properly describes the discomfiture staring the US in the face.
This follows startling revelations that the US is now desperately trying to make amends with Iran and Venezuela, countries it imposed economic sanctions on in its futile pursuit of illegal regime change.
The US is after the two countries’ oil after it failed to subdue Russia in its ongoing conflict with Ukraine, a staunch Uncle Sam ally.
Uncle Sam, together with some Western countries have been frantically trying to shut off Russia’s oil supplies over Moscow’s decision to wage a military operation against Ukraine on February 24 2022.
The Western countries have naturally taken sides with a Ukraine that has been desperately trying to become a member of the EU as well as becoming a member of the war mongering Western grouping, NATO, a move which threatens Russia’s peace and security.
In retaliation, the West has banned imports of Russia energy products leading to oil prices shooting through the roof globally.
Russia provides about 12 percent of the global supply of oil making it a key player in the global economy.
But it is the stunning move by Uncle Sam to court Venezuela and Iran, countries it has sought to destabilise over the years, which should provide a sobering reality check, especially for characters within the Zimbabwean opposition, that the US has no principles when it comes to pursuing its interests.
On March 5 2022, US President Joseph Biden took the unusual step of humbling his abrasive country when he sent officials to Venezuela to negotiate for easing of economic sanctions against the Latin America oil giant.
“Caracas, Riyadh and Tehran (Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Iran’s capital cities) would have been unlikely sources of relief for a Biden-led Western alliance before the start of the war in Ukraine. But Russia’s invasion has upended international relations, forcing the US and other nations to seek out solutions in places they’d previously shunned,” said a damning report by CNN Politics on March 8 2022 which laid bare the limited options at Uncle Sam’s disposal.
“Russia has typically exported roughly 5 million barrels of crude per day, half of which goes to Europe. Venezuela, which has the world’s largest proven oil reserves, could help make up the gap, but the country has suffered persistent output issues. Before sanctions were applied on Iran, it produced about 4 million barrels per day. Saudi Arabia has spare capacity to ramp up production, though it has so far been unwilling.
It’s far from clear that the administration’s efforts will yield results. Venezuela’s socialist leader, Nicolás Maduro, is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top ally in Latin America. So far, Saudi Arabia has refused to increase production, though officials remain hopeful of a breakthrough. And a revived Iran nuclear deal remains elusive in part because of new demands by Russia, a partner in the international negotiations.
Still, Biden administration officials remain intent on identifying potential supplies of energy that could replace Russia’s exports. While US officials have assessed it would not be in Russia’s interest to weaponize its energy exports, the risk that it may come to pass and the need to protect European allies particularly when it comes to natural gas has factored into the efforts, officials said.”
The development followed the US’ ill-informed ban on Russian energy imports.
Uncle Sam, just like cohorts in Harare, is out of sorts when it comes to having an appreciation of the looming seismic shift in global political dynamics.
“Today I am announcing the United States is targeting the main artery of Russia’s economy. We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy,” said the embattled Biden.
“That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine.”
The situation in Venezuela bears some resemblance to the one in Zimbabwe, especially where our noisy opposition is concerned.
Supported by Uncle Sam and his Western counterparts, the opposition parties in the two countries have naively sought to destabilise their countries in the hope that the US will produce manna from its self-proclaimed heaven.
Below is a detailed explanation of our exasperation with the opposition in Zimbabwe and Venezuela.
On January 23 2019, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself acting president, prompting that country’s leader Nicolas Maduro to point accusing fingers at the US which he said was involved in a plot to oust him from power.
Guaido is a 39-year-old American-funded and endorsed activist who, like our own 44-year-old opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, ingenuously believes that age matters more to the assumption of power through rabble-rousing antics than a country’s independence, self-determination and as well as adherence to democratic processes.
Like Guaido, Chamisa believes that this country will only prosper if, and when, he takes over power on behalf of his Western handlers.
But time and again, we have emphasised the compelling fact that Chamisa and his stuttering crew are mere pawns in the US’ game of devilish intentions.
Uncle Sam’s only use for the likes of Chamisa, Guaido, Tendai Biti and others is to make them conduits to destabilise the country through the ouster, via illegal means, of those countries’ democratically elected Governments.
In the highly unlikely event that such a scenario happens, Uncle Sam will simply go back to its factory settings of unashamedly furthering their interests which have absolutely nothing to do with Guaido, Chamisa and Biti’s infantile dreams.
Hence the move by Uncle Sam to go back to Venezuela with a begging bowl.
The stumbling block to Biden’s overture is that Presidents Maduro and Putin are close allies.
“It’s a crime what they’re doing to the Russian people, an economic war,” Maduro said at an event where he railed against the decision by the US and its allies to kick Russia’s banks out of the SWIFT payment system and impose a flight ban on its airlines. It’s craziness what they’re doing,” said an Associated Press report on March 7 2022.
The US first imposed sanctions on Venezuela in 2015 when former President Barack Obama barred his country’s companies from operating in the Latin America country.
Citibank then made the first devastating move when it closed Venezuela’s foreign accounts.
Former President Donald Trump followed suit in 2017 when he intensified the sanctions by blocking the purchase of petroleum from Venezuela State-owned company PDVSA.
Trump’s Executive Order, signed in August 2019, affects “…all property and interests in property of the Government of Venezuela that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person.”
It goes on:
“These assets are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in, and prohibits the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order as well as the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.”
Trump also snatched Venezuela’s US subsidiary CITGO which was worth US$8 billion at the time.
Venezuela generates 90 percent of its revenue from oil sales.
“The US government has also frozen $5,5 billion of Venezuelan funds in international accounts in at least 50 banks and financial institutions. Even if Venezuela could get money abroad, the United States has long blocked international trade by threatening sanctions on foreign companies for doing business with the country,” reads part of a report by DW titled ‘The Human Cost of the US Sanction on Venezuela’ which was published on October 1 2019.
“Jenjerlys is just one of more than 300 000 people who are estimated to be at risk because of lack of access to medicines or treatment because of sanctions on the country. That includes 16 000 people who need dialysis, 16 000 cancer patients and roughly 80 000 people with HIV, according to a report published in April by the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research.”
While the world continues to steadily shift its attention from Uncle Sam’s now nauseating bully tactics, the reality is that the US’ powers are well and truly on the wane.
In Shona we say: ‘Akarumwa nechekuchera,’ the same thing that will bite our own Chamisa on March 26.